Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Another Successful Year for Minnesota Cup

This year marked the 9th anniversary of the Minnesota Cup competition, an event that according to the Cup’s website is now the biggest emerging venture competition in the U.S. The competition culminated in a final awards event at the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center two weeks ago on September 11, at which division winners gave oral presentations to the review board and the grand prize was awarded. Approximately 1,100 participants joined this year’s competition, which started last spring, competing for awards in six specific divisional categories: energy/clean tech, high tech, life science/health IT, social, general, and a student-only group. 

This year’s winners ran the gamut of unique, innovative technologies and ideas. In the energy/clean tech space, a company specializing in sustainable agriculture through the development of indoor/urban warehouse farming systems came out on top. In the high tech division, a business providing a practical and intuitive platform for company employee and staff scheduling won the prize. The winner of the social entrepreneur category was a Mankato-based community action agency that provides programs and services to help eliminate poverty, and the general division champ was a developer of a “safe and simple” blog for K-12 students.  My personal favorite was the winner of the student division, ShedBed, creator of a technology that attracts and contains pet hair and dander to a pet’s bed. I wonder if it works when your pet misappropriates your human bed… (I can’t help it—is anyone else’s dog THIS CUTE?!). 

“I’m sleeping in today.” – Mac (my parents’ Norwich terrier)

Overall, Preceptis Medical was the company that came out on top – the divisional winner in the life science/health IT division. This company received accolades for its development of tools to assist in ear tube procedures, the most common pediatric surgery in the U.S., allowing them to be performed in an outpatient setting in a fraction of the time, with parents present and less pain for the patient. 

With the Cup’s 10th anniversary approaching in 2014, it is clear that the competition continues to achieve its goals of not only supporting the Minnesota entrepreneurial community, but also of making the Cup a centerpiece of the state’s emerging business landscape. Good luck to next year’s participants!

A Post by Karen Wenzel, Guest Blogger

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